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text 2016-12-16 12:16
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
Długo zastanawiałam się, w jaki sposób mogłabym rozpocząć pisanie tego tekstu. Generalnie nie mam problemu z dobrem słów, jednak w tym przypadku okazało się inaczej. Może zacznę od tego, że jestem niesamowicie zachwycona tą powieścią! Zapewne wielu czytelników będzie się temu dziwić, ponieważ Mansfield Park nie cieszy się tak wielką popularnością, jak chociażby Emma, Rozważna i romantyczna czy Duma i uprzedzenie. Ba! Wielu twierdzi nawet, że Mansfield Park to najgorsza powieść, jaka wyszła spod pióra Jane Austen (1775-1817), a to przede wszystkim dlatego, że główna bohaterka jest nieciekawa, niemrawa i ciapowata. Taka argumentacja zupełnie do mnie nie przemawia i wydaje mi się absurdalna. W tym wypadku wiele wskazuje na to, że znów zadziałała moja wrodzona przekora. Po przeczytaniu wszystkich książek autorstwa Jane Austen mogę śmiało rzec, że Mansfield Park urzekła mnie najbardziej. Żadna inna nie wciągnęła mnie tak bardzo, jak właśnie historia Fanny Price i Edmunda Bertrama. Znalazłam w niej to COŚ, czego nie da się wyrazić słowami. To trzeba poczuć. Bohaterów polubiłam już od pierwszej strony. Owszem, pani Norris działała mi na nerwy dość mocno, jednak jej specyficzna osobowość wywołałaby negatywne emocje chyba w każdym czytelniku. Lecz z drugiej strony, cóż warta byłaby ta historia, gdyby wszystkie postacie były słodkie i bez skazy?
 
Generalnie książka uważana jest za powieść społeczną, natomiast praktycznie w ogóle nie podchodzi się do niej jak do romansu. Uważam, że to błąd. Przecież uczucie pomiędzy główną bohaterką – Fanny Price – a Edmundem Bertramem wisi w powietrzu od samego początku. Możliwe, że ich miłość nie jest zbyt mocno wyeksponowana, ale wyraźnie można ją odczytać pomiędzy wierszami i uważny czytelnik na pewno to dostrzeże.
 
Polscy czytelnicy mogą zastanawiać się, dlaczego Jane Austen poszła tutaj w kierunku miłości kazirodczej. Zauważmy, że Edmund Bertram to bliski kuzyn Fanny Price. Ich matki są siostrami. Chcę zatem wyjaśnić, że Autorka nie popełniła żadnego błędu logicznego, ani też nie usiłowała choćby w najmniejszym stopniu wywołać skandalu obyczajowego na kartach swojej książki, ponieważ w Wielkiej Brytanii małżeństwa pomiędzy kuzynami (nawet tymi bliskimi) nie były i nie są czymś zakazanym i nikogo nie szokują. W tym kontekście można byłoby dopatrywać się ewentualnie jakichś zakazów moralnych, a nie prawnych.

 

 

Przeczytaj całość

 

 

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review 2016-11-05 21:59
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen

This one had its ups and downs, in my opinion. It was almost chapter-by-chapter. I was bored during some and enjoyed others. I did enjoy the overall story... It was just slow to me at times.

 

*Review written on October 29, 2014.*

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review 2016-06-05 00:00
Mansfield Park
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen Please note that I gave this book 2.5 stars, but rounded up to 3 stars on Goodreads.

This book was over 500 pages of nothing happening besides everyone around one young woman (Fanny Price) trying to convince her that she doesn't know her own mind, that she should be grateful that the neighborhood Lothario has turned his eyes on her, and who can barely walk or talk without feeling freaking faint every five seconds.

The last Jane Austen book that I suffered through was Sense and Sensibility. Thank goodness that I have loved her other books so far. I just realized that I only have two more books to read and I will have read all of her works. I only hope that they are not as boring or soulless as this book.

Fanny Price is the heroine of Mansfield Park. She is the eldest daughter of a poor family consisting of 7 other children. Her mother has two sisters who are well off (Lady Bertram and Mrs. Norris) offer to take her and raise her at Lady Bertram's husband's estate at Mansfield Park. Let's pretty much ignore the fact that the sisters don't offer to send money or aid. They just take the oldest child and spirit her away. Once Fanny arrives a Mansfield, she is treated like the poor relation by her aunt Mrs. Norris and her two female cousins, Julia and Maria. The only person that Fanny feels understands her and wants to see her happy is her older cousin Edmund.

Austen through shows the family through the years, with Fanny also getting visits from her brother William, who is the only person in her immediate family who seems to give two craps about her.

The other characters in this novel either bully, intimidate, or act indifferent to Fanny. And Fanny is shown being some all seeing oracle who can look into people's hearts. Which why I thought it was a misstep at the end for Fanny to be taken in by the Crawfords when she supposedly saw them for who they are or at least that's what people kept saying to her.

When the Crawfords move nearby and the brother and sister (Henry and Mary) start to become more integrated with the Bertram's Fanny despairs over it, because she can see Edmund becoming more and more taken in by Mary.

Have I said that Edmund is kind of stupid and also sanctimonious? Yeah he is. I still don't get what Fanny saw in him.

Henry is what is commonly referred to as a rake, flirting with Julia and Maria and setting the at odds with each other. And then Henry decides he must have Fanny because she has ignored him. Somewhere someone says this means love, I say it shows a narcissist, but what do I know.

Mary is just focused on marrying well, and since she can't have Tom Bertram (eldest brother) she decides to set her sights on Edmund. Apparently Edmund sees that as love. See, still stupid.

And Lady Bertram seems to have no idea what her children are doing...ever.

I also didn't care for Sir Thomas, because he goes off to Antigua for a good part of the story, and returns feeling full of love and need for his family. Until Fanny doesn't realize her good fortune that Henry Crawford wants to marry her, than we spend pages and pages of him berating her to the point of tears. And him scheming by sending her away to see her family, so she can realize that her circumstances can be worse off away from Mansfield Park and Henry. Ugh. I really wish Sir Thomas had died of a heart attack. He was an ass.

There is just a lot of words. I don't know what else to say. I think a few times I wished I had a paperback version so I could just skip to the end. I have never read so much about people walking, how long the walk was (half a mile or mile) how fatigued Fanny was all of the time, and preparations for balls, balls, clothes, rooms, fires, etc. I just needed this book to be over as fast as possible.

It dragged the whole way through up until the end. The flow was all wrong. You would have a scene where something was said, and it was repeated at least a thousand times by several different characters. When the ending comes and everyone is shown for who they are by all parties, the story doesn't pick up a bit. I just kept looking for the words the end.

The setting of Mansfield Park is treated like some castle by Fanny. I didn't get what she saw in the place at all. When she returns home to her family for a visit, Fanny does a lot of comparisons to her home and Mansfield Park and pretty much acts like a jerk in my opinion. She is turned off by her home, her mother, and especially her father. Because they didn't show enough interest in her she was bereft the whole time. Let's forget that Mrs. Norris and her two cousins (Julia and Maria) pretty much ignored or dismissed her, apparently her family was terrible. Bah.

The ending was actually not a happy one in my mind. We have Edmund and Fanny married and as soon as Fanny leaves, she is not missed by Lady Bertram because she is replaced by Fanny's sister Susan. I didn't get some all powerful love from Edmund. He is scarred by realizing that Mary Crawford didn't really care or love him, so he runs back to the person who let's him talk all about himself and decides love. Maria has ruined her life for good and is not going to be allowed back in polite society. And though Julia is married, it's pretty much a marriage she agreed to, to get away from her family. I would definitely read this if you want to read all of Jane Austen's works. But I would not be looking for something as wonderful as Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion.
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text 2016-03-25 16:19
Bookhaul #25

What can I say... I bought books.. again haha. I bought quite a lot, but let's say I blame the stress when it comes to school and they were cheap. Anyhow, these are the books: 

Oorlogswinter is a Dutch classic which I've never read, so when I heard it was only 1 euro, I had to buy it. It's about a winter in World War II. Of course I had to buy In The Afterlight, because it's the third book in The Darkest Minds trilogy. I gave away my copy of The Martian to a friend, because she will (is liking) it more than I do and she gave me Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, because I really want to read it and she doesn't want to anymore. 

Heuh, Penguin Little Black classics? But Vienna, you already own them al?! That's what I thought as well! These are new ones Penguin came out with in March, but this time I decided to buy only the few ones I really want (I want three of four more, trust me). I bought the one by Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Brontë. I've read other works by these authors and loved them all, so of course I had to buy these four first. 

My next goal is to make complete collections of authors that I already own some books of. I already had Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Pride and Prejudice, but now I own all of her novels. Sadly enough not in the same style (Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park are a bit different) and I had to buy Persuasion secondhand and it's a bit colour damaged, but it's complete! The short story collection is also on my way. Jane Austen isn't my favorite author (I've only liked Emma so far), but when I do like/love a book by her, I will also buy a different edition. I really want Emma in the Word Cloud edition, so yea. The edition I have now is very cheap, so then I don't mind.

 

What books have you bought recently? 

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review 2016-01-15 21:35
Mansfield Park
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen

As a heads up, although I do intend to keep this free of spoilers that are not tagged, this is a re-read (for possibly the third time), so if you want to remain completely and totally even hint-free on what happens in this book (though, given this is Austen, there are a few things you can probably guess just from the existence of popular culture...), read at your own risk.

 

This is my least favorite Austen novel.

 

That's not an uncommon statement, it seems, especially given what it is up against, and I do like the book, but I can never, despite reading (and this time listening!) to it several times, do much more than "like" it.

 

Here's where I differ from the more common opinion: it's not Fanny's fault.

 

I don't dislike Fanny. I even feel sorry for her, and I don't think that she is as weak a character as many people seem to paint her. She has strength of convictions, even when those convictions are no longer the mode, and she holds to them despite the ramifications forced upon her by her friends and family. What is that if not strength? She is quiet and meek, certainly, but it is the kind of quiet and meek that hides an inner core that is rather shocking.

 

My problem with the book actually is due to the hero and the entirety of the romance.

 

Fanny is clearly in love throughout, and, like most Austen heroines, she suffers for this love to some extent, often from social embarrassment and awkwardness, and occasionally because the one she loves appears to have eyes for another. All of this is de rigeur for an Austen novel, and not something I complain about. The problem is that I don't think she settles on someone actually worthy of her.

 

Complaints can be made about a few of Austen's heroes, probably, but I've never felt that the romance was unsatisfying. The problem is that the hero spends pretty much the whole book in love with someone else.

 

By the "pretty much the entire book", I actually kind of mean "the entire book". Fanny ends up an endnote. It almost feels like she is rewarded for her good behavior throughout by getting the man she wants in the end, despite a complete lack of build-up towards that except her obvious affection for him. There is no chemistry, no banter, nothing charming about Edmund. He is not morally challenged and there's no reason for him to be boring, and yet his obsession with Mary makes him so and tinges the whole of his "relationship" with Fanny with a level of falsity that leaves me with a bad taste in his mouth. He is a good cousin, but a bad romantic partner, because all I can ever feel (and all I can imagine poor, sensitive Fanny feeling) is that she was his consolation prize for not being able to marry Mary.

(spoiler show)

 

 

All of this is extremely frustrating for someone who wants an ending that doesn't feel tacked on, and I hate even thinking that, let alone saying it, but that is what it feels like. That sours the whole book for me, on some level: I don't feel like Fanny got her just desserts for everything that happened to her, and I just don't associate Austen (or any kind of regency romance, really) with that feeling, especially when I get the odd feeling that it wasn't really intended. This isn't supposed to be a bittersweet ending, it is supposed to be lovely and happy.

 

That is more than enough whining for a book that I did enjoy, even on a third reading, and that has a lot to recommend it. The side characters, as in all Austen novels, are charming (or not, as the case may be) almost-but-not-quite caricatures of people most of us probably know, even today. They come alive on the page, and have the ability to cause you to hold your breath when they are up to something they shouldn't be, gasp when things are discovered, be ashamed for them when they ought to be but aren't, and be angry when they are cruel. Or I'm crazy empathetic and get way too attached to characters--it's probably a coin toss on that front.

 

The Crawfords are very vivid and interesting, and I was significantly more impressed with the Bertrams this time around than previously. The first time I read the book, Fanny's uncle read to me the way he read to her--as a moderately terrifying figure of authority. This time around I had the space to appreciate his character quite a bit better.

 

The audio was quite well-read, as well--Juliet Stevenson is definitely my favorite narrator of Austen's works, and she absolutely did not disappoint here.

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